Fifth on the Floor’s 2010 release Dark and Bloody Ground was a fantastic piece of Southern rock, and the first taste of their upcoming album Ashes and Angels picks up right where that album left off.
The song starts off with a pounding kick drum from Aaron Graham as singer Justin Wells introduces us to the song’s main character, looking back on where his life went wrong from a jail cell. The rest of the band comes in as the subject of the song explains what got him here — a not-unusual country tale of a cheating wife and a solution to the problem found at the end of a gun barrel.
Matty Rodgers’ warbly, almost surf-like guitar infuses the song, at the same time, with a hint of sorrow over what’s been done and a rowdy defiance that says he’d do it all again. It becomes clear in the last verse that there’s more of the latter as Wells sings “they can take me to the gallows, but I won’t hang my head in shame, it’s a world full of gamblers, and I just lost the game.”
Like most everything off Dark and Bloody Ground, “January in Louisiana” mixes some very traditional country influences, including an occasional yodel-like vocal from Wells, with hard-driving Southern rock and some really good story-telling songwriting. While it doesn’t hit me as immediately as “The Fall” or “Distant Memory Lane” off that previous effort, I’m still left listening to it over and over and counting down the days until I can get my hands on the rest of the record.
The Shooter Jennings-produced Ashes and Angels is due March 12, 2013.